June 10, 2019

Orangutan forest update relevant to Greenpeace

JAKARTA ( - Time-series based satellite images have confirmed that at the time World Environment Day (WED) was marked this year, more than 80% of a logging concession (PT MPK) which forms a major part of the Sungai Putri landscape in the Indonesian province of West Kalimantan remained relatively intact. 

This key finding derived from accurate spatial evidence confirms a recent news report from (May 29) revealing that its ground check and spatial analysis ahead of WED 2019 found that the logging concession was still home to over a thousand Bornean orangutans.

As represented in the Planet Explorer image below, which refer to various satellite data analyzed by the spatial team, there was no change in the forest cover between the end of May and WED 2019 (Jun 5), with more than 80% of the MPK logging concession still composed of relatively intact peat forests.

This update will certainly be of great relevance to Greenpeace which campaigned against illegal logging in the MPK logging concession around WED 2018, as the NGO considered this a major threat to the survival of the area’s more than 1000 Bornean orangutans, as reported by the Associated Press.

Although the Indonesian Environment and Forestry Ministry only saw this as a minor threat, it still quickly undertook measured efforts, in particular through its law enforcement actions, which have ensured that all the area’s orangutans remain alive until today. 

This is evidenced by the fact that, one year after the Greenpeace campaign, over 1000 Bornean orangutans continue to thrive in the more than 80% of relatively intact peat forests in the MPK logging concession.

The following photos, taken recently by the team (May 22), show that more than 80% of the peat forests in the MPK logging concession are still relatively intact, as previously reported by (May 29). This situation had not changed by WED 2019. 

In late November last year, the ministry also highlighted the fact that more than 80% of the land cover in the MPK logging concession still consisted of relatively intact peat forests inhabited by over a thousand Bornean orangutans.

Nonetheless, it should be emphasized that there is no guarantee on the fate of the Bornean orangutans in the MPK logging concession when WED 2020 comes around and thereafter. For this reason, among others, satellite and ground-based monitoring should certainly be continued to ensure their survival.

The MPK logging concession, which covers an area equivalent to 37,000 soccer fields (with reference to a legally-approved delineated document), or more than 1.5 times the size of Amsterdam, is one of the world’s largest strongholds of Bornean orangutans.

It is our great hope that the Indonesian forestry authorities continue to prohibit the MPK logging company from carrying out any new peat drainage in its concession, even though some parts of it have been planned for establishing forestry plantations.

A palm oil concession (PT DAS/BGA Group) occupying exactly the same complex as the MPK logging concession is also still largely composed of relatively intact peat forests, spanning an area almost twice the size of Brussels and inhabited by around 100 Bornean orangutans, as reported earlier by (May 14)